The direct method processes the information directly, accessing the web server using http (or the file system using the file protocol), processing each file's contents, and following links from one file to the next (within the web site; not those leading to other sites). This is likely to be the prefered method of operation in most cases. It permits redirects, CGI, server-side includes, in-line servlets, and other advanced web site features to be accounted for by the SiteSurfer. Additionally, the Builder will validate all of the links within the web site (including those which lead away from the web site). But if there are files on the site which are not linked to from any other page, the Builder will not know about them (only the Local Mirror method discovers unlinked pages).
Normally, an index created with this method stores "absolute" addresses. This means that the address for a page is precise, including the host and full path to the page. This could be undesirable in some circumstances:
SiteSurfer addresses this problem by letting you build a "relative" index, by selecting the Make portable index checkbox. When the resultant index is loaded by the SiteSurfer applet, it will resolve the address relative to the directory containing the SiteSurfer applet's HTML file.
There is more information about other build methods.